When Sleep reconvened for two high-profile sets at All Tomorrow's Parties in 2009, it looked as if they were simply rubber-stamping the Articles of Reunion. The icons of stoner metal played their great 1992 album Sleep's Holy Mountain in full, along with a rare excerpt from the monolithic Dopesmoker, the record whose legal woes partially caused the band to splinter in 1995. Years later, the trio gave Dopesmoker the deluxe-reissue treatment, excavated archival songs that were never released, and issued a decent single through Adult Swim.
Consider the bong rip. Easily the most ubiquitous sound in weed culture, this raspy sonic hallmark of water-pipe smoking is universally recognized as the stoner's warhorn, a bold declaration of dank intent. Though countless dopesmoking bands, from Black Sabbath to Sublime, have incorporated the mighty rip into their music over the years, few have captured its primordial, ritualistic essence quite like the iconic stoner metal band Sleep do on The Sciences , their first album in two decades.
When Sleep reformed in 2009 at ATP's second Fans Strike Back event in Minehead, Somerset, they ended both of their headline sets with what bassist and vocalist Al Cisneros introduced as "a new song from a long time ago" called 'Antarcticans Thawed'. Almost ten years later, here it is, the 15-minute centrepiece of this new album released by surprise today. Who would have thought Sleep, of all heavy bands, would 'do a Beyoncé' and drop this on us unannounced? But 4/20 is a sacred day for the Weedian and Sleep are their heaviest Gods.